Named after the hometown of the pioneers who settled here, Bloomington, Illinois, this town in Minnesota was settled in 1851 when the Ames, Whalon, and Goodrich families moved in. It is just 12 miles south of Minneapolis and is bordered on the south by the Minnesota River. Bloomington is home to the largest mall in the country, The Mall of America. It features over 520 shops, restaurants, and kiosks, as well as attractions like the Nickelodeon Universe and Sea Life Aquarium.
Bloomington is the perfect place for people who do not like the heat, with an average high of 55 degrees F and low of 36 degrees F. It also has plenty of snow and is one of the most popular skiing and snowboarding destinations. But summer is fun, too, with temperatures in the upper 80s and possibly low 90s in July and August. Whether you want to enjoy the snow or the heat, the city has almost 100 parks to enjoy them in. And with so many pup lovers in the city, there are plenty of dog parks to enjoy as well. Here are our top 15 picks.
Arlington Arkwright Dog Park
Less than 20 miles northeast of Bloomington, Arlington Arkwright Dog Park is a spacious pooch play area in St. Paul with almost five acres. But this is not your average fenced dog park. The grounds lead into the woods, and then it opens up into a large field where canine companions gather to play with one another. Although it is fenced and leashes are not required, those who have dogs that do not have good recall may want to keep them on a leash anyway.
The park does not provide water or doggie bags, so be sure to bring plenty of both. Another important thing to note is that dogs of all sizes and breeds play together in one space. There are no small and large dog areas. So, if you have a small dog with big-dog anxiety, you may want to skip this park for one of the others that have separate pens.
Bassett Creek Dog Park
Bring your fuzzy fur baby to Bassett Creek Park in Crystal to play with other fur pups just 16 miles north of downtown Bloomington. You will find the fenced dog park in the northeastern section of the park right off 32nd Avenue North. In the past few years, the park has undergone a major overhaul making it a much larger and more structured place for your fur baby to play. It now has a separate section for little and shy dogs and a second entrance/exit off Brunswick Avenue to reduce congestion.
The outer park is also dog-friendly as long as your pupster is on a leash. You can take a walk around the pond, let the little humans play on the playground, or play a game of disc golf. There are 80 acres here with all sorts of activities, including basketball, picnic areas, horseshoe courts, tennis, volleyball, an ice skating rink, baseball, softball, and a lovely trail with a footbridge.
Battle Creek Regional Park
Another fun and fantastic off-leash dog park is the one at Battle Creek Regional Park, less than 20 miles northeast of Bloomington in Maplewood. It is the perfect spot for dogs with excellent recall that need a lot of room to run. Because the dog park is so large, with 35 acres, your dog should be voice-controlled to keep him from running off and getting lost. There are trails, swimming spots in summer, and wooded walkways for an awesome day of exploration.
It has varied terrain with thick woods, prairies, a community gathering space, and natural swamps as well as several ponds for cooling off. The large pond is gated, where you can let him swim off-leash without worrying about him running off. You will need to pack extra water and doggie bags. They do have them but it is best to be prepared. The park also has lots of seating for pup parents to have a rest while their pooch plays.
Bloomington Dog Park
The Bloomington Off-Leash Recreation Area is just over five miles southwest of downtown, across from the Minnesota Valley Country Club. It is literally a pooch paradise with approximately 25 fenced acres with separate sections for different sizes and activity levels. One thing that dogs and humans love is the pond. During the summer, pups love to cool off in the water, and in the winter, it becomes a fun place to watch your pooch try to ice skate without skates!
Seriously, make sure the ice is solid before letting your canine companion try that. With so many acres, you may never see another dog while you are there. However, there are certain areas where pet parents congregate, like by the edges of the pond. There are plenty of chairs you can move wherever you want to sit or choose a piece of grass and spread out a blanket for an impromptu picnic. Just remember doggie bags to pick up after your pup.
Cleary Lake Dog Park
Cleary Lake Dog Park is 20 miles southwest of Bloomington in Prior Lake at the Cleary Lake Regional Park. The park features 28 acres just for your cuddly buddy to play with other fur babies without a leash. Although if your pooch is not voice-controlled, you may want to leave that leash on with so much space. Also, you will need to pay a small fee to bring your pup here. Or if you are local, you can get an annual pass for even cheaper.
The fenced dog pond makes it all worth the little bit of money you have to put out to visit, though! The water is clean, and the place is well-maintained with a large meadow and fields. The wooded trails are pretty awesome too. Most of the park is natural and unmowed, but there are certain areas with mowed grass for a game of fetch or frisbee. Also, there is a water hose near the parking lot to clean off your pup before getting back into the car.
Dakota Woods Dog Park
In Rosemont, about 24 miles southeast of Bloomington, you will find the Dakota Woods Dog Park. This pup popular park is 16 acres of space, both wooded and grassy, with lots of room for your canine companion to romp around and play. He can get rid of all the zoomies here in no time, and you can get a good workout as well. There is a small daily fee like Cleary Lake, but that just means the place is safer, and you will have a better overall experience. Those who have to pay for a license are typically more responsible.
The Dakota Woods Dog Park is just one part of the Vermillion Highlands and Whitetail Woods Regional Park, so you can put your pup’s leash back on and enjoy more activities after the dog park. During the winter, there is skiing and snowboarding at Whitetail Woods, and you can do some snowshoeing too. Do not forget to pack extra water and poop bags!
Fish Lake Dog Park
Northwest of Bloomington, about a half hour, the Fish Lake Regional Park Dog Park has a seven-acre off-leash area in Maple Grove. This one has a smaller section for little and more shy dogs, too, so if you have a small pooch, this is a great choice. It is located in the middle of the Fish Lake Regional Park, where they have fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking, as well as hiking and biking during the warm months. In winter, you can enjoy snowshoeing with your cuddle buddy.
The fenced pooch play area is located by the parking lot on Fish Lake Park Road, with the small dog area right in front near the restrooms. They have water fountains and waste stations with poop bags, but it is always good to have your own packed just in case. There are picnic tables and benches spread out over the whole park, and many of them are in the shade.
High Bridge Dog Park
What can you do with an old coal power plant? Why not make a dog park out of it? That is what they did at High Bridge Dog Park in St. Paul, just 13 miles northeast of downtown Bloomington. It is right on the Mississippi River by the Mississippi National River Recreational Area of the Smith Avenue High Bridge. There are seven acres of awesome space for you and your cuddle buddy to explore and enjoy. Bring your dog’s favorite ball or doggie disc for a game of fetch.
No leashes are required here, but it is a good idea to keep them on if your fur puppy is not voice-controlled. Seven acres is a lot of space to have to chase your pooch if he does not feel like listening when you call him! The park has mostly grassy areas with some dirt spots that can get muddy after rain or snow. They do not have water, so bring your own, as well as some poop baggies.
Indoor Zoomies Dog Park
If the weather is not cooperating and your small fur baby needs to get rid of some of that excess energy, check out Indoor Zoomies in Minnetonka, just 14 miles northwest of Bloomington. However, this indoor play area is just for dogs that are 30 pounds and under because it is not large enough for larger pups. You can register your pooch by submitting an application with vet records online and purchasing a one-day, 5-day, or 10-day pass.
This is a new place, just opened in June of 2023, so it is always changing as new needs are discovered. You do have to keep your fur buddy on a leash until you get inside the fenced area, and there is an outdoor area in front of the building for potty breaks. If your pooch has an accident inside, you have to clean it up immediately. The price is fairly cheap at just $10 per dog per day, and you get a discount for getting a multipack.
Lake Minnewashta Dog Park
The Lake Minnewashta Off-Leash Dog Park in Excelsior can be reached in just 20 minutes at the Lake Minnewashta Regional Park. This unique lake park offers separate spaces for different-sized dogs as well as a one-mile trail with aggregate and wood chips for off-leash hiking. There are also two large open areas for your canine compadre to socialize with other fur babies. One for dogs under 25 pounds and the other for larger pups. Your dog must be vaccinated and licensed with a rabies tag on his collar.
The pond is fenced for pup play, but it is open to both small and large dogs. There are a few other places where different sizes can play together, which is great if you happen to have one of each. The pond is typically clean, and there is a water fountain as well, but it is a good idea to bring your own water and poop baggies just in case.
Lurton Dog Park
Susan E. Lurton Dog Park has almost 40 acres of space on the shores of Lake Classen, about 24 miles northwest of Bloomington. Named for the Lurton family, who donated the land in 2000, the passive park was changed from a neighborhood park to an off-leash pup park in 2017. The maintenance and upkeep are paid for by a Lurton Park Fund and fees that are paid by users. Residents can pay $40 per year, while non-residents have to pay a bit more.
Being such a large space, it is important that your pooch has good recall, or you may find yourself searching for him after he sees something exciting, like a squirrel or rabbit. Also, it gets muddy in the springtime when it rains often. Otherwise, you and your cuddly buddy can spend an entire day here and possibly not see another person or pup. But if you are seeking socialization, you may want to try a different park.
Plymouth Dog Park
Less than five miles southwest of Fish Lake Dog Park and 20 minutes northwest of Bloomington, Plymouth Dog Park is located in Plymouth off Chankahda Trail. It is a large pooch play space with all sorts of activities that dog parks need, like water fountains, benches, and trash stations. But it also has a small dog area for little and timid fur puppies as well as agility equipment in each section.
The little dogs love the jumps, A-frame they can climb up, down, and under, a fire hydrant to pee on, the tunnels to zip through, and the weave poles to wiggle through. The large dog section also has a tunnel and a larger A-frame, jumps, hoops, and a fire hydrant. Most of the ground cover is turf on both sides, which is great for preventing muddy paws, and there are picnic tables for the pup parents. They have bag dispensers, but bring your own so you are sure to have what you need.
Rice Creek Dog Park
Head northeast about 27 miles, and you will find the Rice Creek Off-Leash Dog Park in Shoreview. It has 13 acres of fenced space with two double-gated entrance/exit gates where you can grab a few poop bags or leave some of your own for others who may need some. It is always nice to share with other pup parents! Although there is not much natural shade here, the park has provided man-made shade structures for your convenience.
At the moment, there is no small dog section, but they are in the process of fixing that issue. The small dog area will be finished by the end of the year and will be available for dogs 35 pounds and under. You can find several water stations throughout the 13 acres and a fenced swimming hole to let your pooch cool his paws (and the rest of him) if you do not mind a muddy dog.
Southbridge Community Dog Park
Pack up your pooch, some poop bags, and extra water, and head to the Southbridge Community Park Dog Park in Shakopee. It is less than 14 miles southwest of downtown Bloomington across the Minnesota River. Located just off Southbridge Parkway, the dog park boasts 10 acres for all breeds and sizes as well as one-half acre for small breed dogs. The small size is limited to those no more than 25 pounds and 13 inches tall at the shoulder.
The only catch is that you have to get a Shakopee dog license to use the park. Even if you are not a resident. But it is only $25 for a full year, so even if you are just passing through, it is not much more than a day pass at some private dog parks. And it ensures that all dogs are healthy are up to date on their shots. The trails are amazing too. They zig and zag throughout the trees, meadows, and prairies.
Woodview Dog Park
Just a few miles north of High Bridge Dog Park and 20 minutes northeast of Bloomington, Woodview Off-Leash Dog Park in Roseville has trails with a little something for everyone. The first dog park is located right by the parking lot and is completely fenced with a sidewalk to be easily accessible. It has plenty of room for big and small dogs to play, drinking fountains, and waste stations with baggies.
The other area is considered to be part of the Reservoir Woods and Ramsey County Open Space in Tamarack Park. It is not fully fenced, so your pup needs to be under voice control or a leash. There are often deer and other wildlife, so make sure you keep him close. The trails take you to McCarrons Lake as well, where your little buddy can cool off or just sniff around. Make sure you bring extra baggies and water if you plan to venture out onto the trails.
The Final Woof
Let’s face it, sometimes, you need a break from the dog parks. Take your fur buddy to get some culture at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. There are over 40 sculptures for you and your pooch to gawk at. He will love the giant, brightly painted sausages! If your canine companion is into dock diving, head over to The Dog Tank. The 45-foot diving pool is for swimming, diving, and just cooling off when it gets hot. If you are ready to enjoy a cold brew, there are dozens of pup-friendly breweries in town. After all, Minneapolis is the Land of 10,000 craft beers! Utepils Brewing in Minneapolis has a huge outdoor play area and includes non-alcoholic beverages for kids and dogs.